San Francisco is a city made famous in songs, movies, photos, art, and just by being itself. Quite possibly the most picturesque city in America, the City by the Bay has a rich history and sees millions of visitors flock to its streets every year. Freedom of expression is imperative in SF, and this is one of the many reason the city plays host to one of the most freeing festivals all year: Folsom Weekend. Folsom weekend, held September 22-24, 2017, is synonymous with San Francisco, and has both have become household names as the fair welcomes thousands of queer and fetish friendly visitors annually.
Folsom is the world’s largest gathering of leather and kink fetishes and has evolved into a weekend parties, festivals, and touring everything San Francisco has to offer. What started out as a local street fair for gays with fetishes to gather and celebrate out in the open has now seen more than 30 years of celebrations lasting all weekend long.
The pinnacle event of the weekend is Folsom Street Fair. Held on Sunday afternoon, there thousands flock to the Mission district to take in the world-famous street fair festival. People come to see BDSM demonstrations, purchase gear from popular brands and vendors, show off their prized leather and fetish gear, drink beer, and enjoy sexy Sunday afternoon in the sun amongst new and old friends.
San Francisco has long been referred to as a gay mecca, due to its rich history of as a safe city for the queer community. The Castro is San Fran’s gay epicenter, and has been one of the longest standing gayborhoods in the world. With gay owned shops, clubs, restaurants, and stores, there is plenty to do just simply walking around. Nearby Delores Park makes for great sunbathing on warm days and for excellent people watching.
But don’t just stay in the Castro. You’ll realize many of the parties and the festival are in the Mission district of San Francisco, the city’s secondary queer neighborhood. If you’re feeling a little more Stephanie Tanner than Kimmy Gibber, take a stroll to The Painted Ladies: a series of stereotypical San Francisco architecture made famous by the extraordinary views of the city behind them—and from Full House and Fuller House, now on Netflix.
The two most iconic things of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the city’s vintage cable cars can be done one right after the other. Take a cable car north to Fisherman’s Wharf, a marina with fresh fish, food stands, souvenir shops, and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. Now in the northern tip of the peninsula, head east towards the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. There, you’ll see San Francisco’s most famous landmark: The Golden Gate Bridge. A drive over to Sausalito and Marin County is worth the $7 fee you’ll pay on the way back to see the spectacular views of the city. Wedged between two mountain ranges and spanning over the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is a feat of human engineering and definitely a site to see.
There are many other things to see in San Francisco that can be accomplished just by walking around. San Francisco has a world-famous Chinatown, and the Haight-Ashbury area offers up memories of San Francisco’s hippie past. Fabulous shopping can be had around Union Square and Market, and Lombard Street, billed as the ‘Crookedest street in America’ allows for spectacular views of SF. If tours are more your flavor, try visiting the famed prison on Alcatraz Island or Pier 39.
Folsom weekend in San Francisco is a great time to step into some leather and hit the streets, loud and proud. While the street fair and surrounding parties of the weekend beckon, the city is a fabulous location for taking in some sites, exploring, and being free in a pretty non-judgmental environment. With San Francisco, there is a little something for everyone. And during Folsom weekend, well, it goes without saying that there will be plenty to do…and see.
For more information on visiting San Francisco, check out SF Travel to find out where to go, what to do, and how to best plan your SF holiday. If you’re still looking for places to stay during Folsom weekend, check out the HomoCulture Tour host hotels, Hilton San Francisco Union Square and the Parc 55 San Francisco.